Margaret Tolbert Group
We are a research group in the department of Chemistry and CIRES at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Our research is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the Earth's complex atmosphere. Specifically, work in our group specializes in understanding atmospheric heterogeneous chemistry. For example, the importance of heterogeneous chemistry in catalyzing stratospheric ozone loss has been firmly established. In the case of the ozone hole, reactions on polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) are responsible for repartitioning chlorine reservoir species into photochemically active species capable of catalytically destroying ozone. However, significant questions still remain as to the composition, phase, nucleation mechanisms, and surface chemistry of PSCs. Traditionally, work in our group has been aimed at answering these questions.
Today, the research in our group has expanded in an attempt to answer similar questions about cirrus clouds and other particulate matter that exist in the troposphere. Currently, our research explores the chemistry of tropospheric aerosols, and the impact of such aerosols on climate and visibility. Finally, we are also probing aerosols in other planetary atmospheres and studying the possible role of aerosols on early Earth as life was developing. Research in our group is funded primarily through NASA and NSF.
Student Office: 303-492-1433
Student Lab: 303-492-1199
Maggie's Office: 303-492-3179
CIRES FAX: 303-492-1149
The Tolbert lab and offices are located on the first floor of the CIRES building. Enter the atrium in the Ekeley Building from the south and turn right (east) at the top of the stairs. For directions to the CIRES building, go to Directions to CIRES.
Student Offices: CIRES 146, 149, 152
Student Lab: CIRES 137, 138
My interests are in the area of heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry, focusing on the chemical, physical, and optical properties of atmospheric aerosols. In addition to fundamental studies of particles, we are also exploring how atmospheric aerosols impact current problems such as stratospheric ozone depletion, global climate change, urban smog, and visibility degradation.
Research in the Tolbert group is not limited to studies of atmospheric aerosols on the current-day Earth. We are also probing the particles that might have been present at the earliest times in Earth’s history. We are interested in how these particles might have impacted the climate of early Earth and the development of life on Earth. As a parallel to early Earth, we are also studying aerosols and clouds on other planetary bodies such as Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan.
Our work is primarily laboratory based, but involves collaborations with theory teams and those involved in fieldwork. Our primary support comes from the National Science Foundation and NASA.